Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm Back, Bitches!

OK, so I've been gone for a bit. I know. I'm sorry. I realize you're all upset with me and thinking I hate you, but I don't. The problem is that I've been running a study at work for the past few weeks that involved my cooking lunch and dinner for a group of people, basically ensuring I would be in the lab from 8 am - at least 8 pm everyday. With no breaks and no time to blog. Plus, all the shopping and prep on the days I wasn't cooking food kind of interfered with my ability to even take care of myself that well, let alone take care of all of you with my fabulous words. It's going to happen again, but not until, let's say February, next year, so I'm back and all-in until then. Also, my computer broke, so I was without a blogging device for a week or so.

What's to come? Well, "Top Chef's" back, so that's clearly going to be good times. "30 Rock" is continuing it's run as the greatest show on TV. "The Office" is kind of sucking, which gives me lots of cannon fodder and I'm sure I'll go do something interesting during the months of December and January. If I don't, I'll just "Tuesday Tirade" everyday and write about all the things I buy for myself that I love (checkbook wallet) and hate (my f*&^%%%%!@!$% Dell XPS M1330). And, I'm sure there will be some fantastic celebrity gossip to discuss ad nauseum. I think it will be a good couple of months.

In the meantime, by way of an apology, I give you this adorable picture of Stephen Colbert and Ed Helms (again):

How I wish to be the delicious filling in that sandwich...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Top Chef Season 5: Episodes 2 and 3

So, I just got around to watching Episode 3 today, you know, with Thanksgiving and partying and, I figured I'd join the two episodes together into one, delicious post. Speaking of delicious:

Episode 2:
OK, I'm not going to lie, I really hate that Donatella girl. Like a lot. I don't know why. Every time I see her face on "Iron Chef: America" this huge wave of irrational anger rises up inside me. I mean, I respect her. I like her restaurants. I think it's awesome that she's so young, yet so successful. Maybe I'm pissy because I want to be her? Maybe I think her face is stupid-looking? I don't know...whatever, it's not really important, other than to explain my anger at the Quickfire. Why is Donatella there judging hot dogs? Does she have the perfect palate for judging hot dogs? Is she a hot dog expert? DOes she have some secret knowledge of hot dogs everyone in the world was previously unaware of? I don't really think so.

Also, the Quickfire confused me. If the challenge was to make a hot dog that was better than the hot dog lady's, why did (almost) everyone make their OWN hot dogs? The hot dog lady doesn't make her own. Shouldn't the challenge been more clear, like, use this hot dog we provided and make it good? And, didn't Fabio, with his chorizo hot dog, really just grind up some chorizo and then reform it back into a, you know, CHORIZO? Stupid Quickfire aside, I wanted to eat Radhika's lamb kebab thingy. SO delicious looking. She clearly deserved the win.

Elimination Challenge - cooking at Craft? Awse. I can't believe Tom C. let them take over his restaurant like that. It must have been like a Monday morning or something. Or, Bravo paid him an ass-load of money. The second awse? Having the not-chosen for "Top Chef", New York City chefs come to judge them. Ha! Brilliance! I think that was probably the pissiest group of people they could have chosen EVER to come and judge the food. That includes when they brought the future Season 3 contestants on to judge the food of the Season 2 chefs and Hung bitched everyone out.

As far as the food went, I'm with Tom, not so great. Not that I could do any better, but I'm not a chef competing on "Top Chef." I thought Jamie's soup was brilliant in its simplicity and delicious looking. And Fabio's carpaccio? Oh mother of God, I want to just roll around in it. It looked so good. What's not to like? Beef. Arugula. Lemon. Parmesan. Probably the best food combination ever. I want to make a raft out of the carpaccio and paddle around on a sea of Jamie's soup.

As for the losers, yeah, I don't really know what to say. Ariane clearly has no business being there (and I say that still, after having watched the most recent episode), but Jill deserved to go home. Ostrich egg? Really? That might be the most ridiculous idea ever. I know you want to do something to stand out, but why choose an ingredient that you've never used before? This is not the time to experiment - this is the time to pull out a tried and true recipe you've bee refining over the past year, specifically for the show. If they give you an opportunity to basically cook whatever you want, you absolutely do not use it to make something retard-O. Plus, her defense of the dish was one of the most pathetic things I've ever heard on TV. I know chefs aren't generally that well-spoken, but come on. At least answer the question they asked without rambling on unintelligibly, as if you just smoked a fat one in the stew room with Hosea.

Moving on to Episode 3:

The Quickfire was good, until Padma yelled at them to make soup. I thought the idea of reinventing a recipe from the cookbook was actually good, even if it was also a blatant attempt to plug the "Top Chef" cookbook, just in time for the start of holiday shopping season. When she came in all dramatically, as if the kitchen was burning down, I kind of wanted to punch her in the face. That said, Grant Achatz is made of awesome(one of my life goal's is to eat at Alinea), so, because he was there, I got over it quickly. And, the chefs did pretty good jobs, too. Or, maybe I just think they did because the producers chose not to show Grant chewing out the bottom three? The top 3 all had really nice looking and inventive dishes, but I'm glad Leah won. Jamie seemed a little cocky about her soup (wouldn't chick pea soup taste kind of like thin hummus?) and the ham and egg soup didn't seem refined enough for the challenge (although I'm sure it was delicious, what's not to like?). Leah's was the nicest looking of the three and (in my opinion) the most soup-like. If that's even a thing.

For the Elimination Challenge, I think it's awesome that they made the poor Foo Fighters celebrate Thanksgiving in, let's say July, just for the show. I wonder if they really watch "Top Chef" or if they were the only band in the area. Also, what's up with them driving to Rochester? That's a long-ass trip from NYC, and even longer when driving them all back after a concert. Did they really all go back to NYC for the elimination that night, after the show? Or did they film it the next day and pretend like it was the same night? The real question is why am I trying to apply logic to "Top Chef?"

I did like the Thanksgiving challenge, but I kind of wish they had given them a real kitchen in which to cook. Imagine the awesome stuff they could have turned out if they had been given more than one burner? Although, I'm still sticking with my initial love of Eugene. He built a smoker and grill? Brilliant! I can't remember which Foo Fighter said he MacGyver-ed that pork loin, but that was great...and the pork loin looked tasty, too. I actually kind of felt bad for Team Cougar, they didn't really do that badly. Aside from their dessert, I really thought they pulled it off well. I'll even give my most-hate Ariane her props, cooking turkey breast perfectly in a toaster oven? She clearly has some skills. They just all looked so depressed when they were cleaning up, with the music from the concert in the background. As for Team Sexy Pants (stupid name aside), they did really well, too. I think the vegan stuffing was a great idea and the cobbler looked great (go Hosea, you're my boy!).

Elimination-wise, Richard deserved to go home. You should never make a dish that needs last-minute preparation when doing a buffet. You need food that can sit and still be good, even I know that. I'm really glad they let Jeff stay, he clearly took too much on, but he was a great leader, especially evidenced by the fact that the team stood up for him, and each other, during Judge's Table and that says a lot. Normally there's a lot of what we refer to as "under the bus throwing" when a team loses, particularly when they have a crappy leader. I will miss Richard and his adorable crush on Tom, though. He was adorable when he said he got nervous when Tom came into the room with the Foo Fighter, then the camera panned to Tom in slow-mo, walking into the room. Pure awesome.

Overall, I'm really liking this season. I think just about everyone deserves to be there and they all seem to genuinely like each other and, probably more importantly, respect each other. I hope this trend continues throughout the season, I'm totally over everyone yelling at each other in the stew room and trying to save their ass at Judge's Table by belittling the other contestants. Just cook your food and deal with it if you go home. You already got much farther than a bunch of other very talented chefs - feel lucky.

That said, WTF is up with Padma's voiceovers? I feel like they're all shoe-horned in there, and really shoe-horned in quite poorly. It's like an episode of Semi-Homemade every Wednesday night. Also, why do they shove in a little 30-second clip of footage in between Judge's Table and the knifing? Last week it was the clip of Hosea and Leah semi-making out, this week Jamie and Danny fighting. Is this a new trend to keep us from tuning out before the elimination? Do people really change the channel before seeing who get eliminated? Is it a way to wedge more commercials into the hour? I mean, the whole show if already a commercial for Glad, Toyota Sequoias, and Swanson broth, do we really need even more ads?

OK, rant over. I think I'll actually be able to watch the shows and post shortly thereafter from now on. I know you're all excited. I know I can't wait...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Top Chef Season 5 - Episode 1

I kind of hate the first, lets say 8, episodes of any new season of "Top Chef." You don't get any sense of the chefs, their cooking style, their personalities - you only get whatever little bits the editors deem fit to show you. And, you can't even take it at face value, because they're trying to tell you a story, picking a villain and a hero (sometimes more than one) at random.

Which is why I'm going to suspend judgment on the chefs for the time being. Although, I will say two things:

1. Recent culinary school graduates have NO business being on "Top Chef." Those two that got kicked off on Wednesday were clearly there as cannon fodder and, really, should never have been there in the first place. I can't believe there weren't any more talented chefs than those two, who came to audition for the show.

2. Don't ever bring on a contestant, only to kick them off within the first 2 hours of the show. We're all wasting fuel in America as it is, do we really need to fly someone from Florida for a two hour stop in NYC, only to fly her ass back again? What a waste of all that Glad-sponsorship money.

That said, it's quite clear that these chefs are GOOD. All of the food looked good, maybe not what I would choose to cook given access to the same ingredients (probably because I'm not that creative), but I'd definitely eat it. My early favorites are probably Eugene (the dishwasher guy, that's his name, right?) and the big, gay guy who hearts Tommy C. I'll ship them for the whole season, even if I know it's never meant to be. Another plus - no one seems to have that cocky, ridiculous Ilan/Marcel/Hung-thing going on. I feel like they're all professionals who should be able to take the judges constructive criticism. I hope. Also, no faux hawks, which is always a good thing.

I'm really intrigued to see what kind of crazy-ass challenges they'll make the chefs go through this season. And, you know New York is going to be an awesome setting for the show. They're all so lucky to get the opportunity to cook for the best chefs in the world on this show. Even the chefs who don't win will have the chance to greatly improve their game and learn from the best. It should be a good season...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

OK, this is pathetic, I know

I want too write about the "Top Chef" premiere tomorrow, but I don't even know is I'll be able to stay awake to watch the whole thing. I'm running a study at work that's kicking my ass and making it impossible for me to do anything when I get home aside from sit on my couch and inhale some food, take a shower, and go directly to bed. I'm going to try to watch it - I'm so excited about it!

Regardless, I'll post my witty and brilliant thoughts about the episode when I can. I imagine we'll have a great group of people to snark on - how many faux hawks will we have this semester? What will the new, "throw me under the bus" be? Will they bring Marcel and Ilan back to judge a Quickfire together? Will they have a girly, slap-fight instead of tasting the foods? What season 4 chefs will come back for the challenges? I hope Stephanie and Richard, but most likely they'll bring back Spike and Lisa - there's more drama that way. Maybe they'll have a hot chef night and bring back Sam and Ryan...huzzah for eye-candy for Iko.

So, watch the premiere tonight! I'll probably be in bed with the TV on, totally passed out. But at least I have something fun to watch on my TiVo on Friday after yoga! Wow, my Friday nights' kind of sound like Liz Lemon's...

Just a Quick One (TWSS): Jason Sudeikis Post of the Day

ZOMG!! So Cute!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

For those of you who ALSO love Ed Helms - the Ed Helms post of the day

It’s one of my greatest traits is my lack of dignity. But I think it actually goes back a little further than the Daily Show. Before that I trained and worked at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York, and I did stand up for years in New York...It’s like fear is such a huge part of it. It’s just a matter of like - of embracing the fear and sort of being drawn to it in a way. And there’s nothing more exhilarating than sort of like throwing your fear at - just throwing it out there. Then the Daily Show, I think, was - it’s funny that you say it - that you used the word fearless because I was terrified every single segment on that show. It was very nerve-wracking. That’s sort of what I was talking about before, like it’s just very taxing. But yeah, I just - I think there’s a certain - I just - I also love to break out in song in real life.

The rest is here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We Are the Vote - And So Can You!

God, I'm glad this election is finally over - I'm so ready for a new president.

I know I don't have to tell you guys to vote - I know everyone who reads this is incredibly intelligent, witty, and aware of what's important. Vote for who you want, far be it from me to tell anyone what to do. As long as you've formed your own opinion and found a candidate that best reflects your views, he or she deserves, and is lucky to have, your vote. And, if you can't figure out who to vote for, may I suggest the duo in the video above?